Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in the southern French city of Nice on March 24, 2019. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in the southern French city of Nice on March 24, 2019. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to France will further consolidate the relationship between the two countries and usher it into a new stage, French politicians, scholars and experts have said.

Ahead of his visit, Xi published a signed article titled “Move Together Toward Common Development” in leading French newspaper Le Figaro, in which he called on the two sides to meet challenges with joint efforts and deepen strategic mutual trust in order to broaden the horizon for common development and shared prosperity. This visit is set to mark a new stage in bilateral relations, said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, adding that France has a relationship of trust with China.

In addition to strengthening existing cooperation, there is greater potential for cooperation between the two countries, he said.

Alain Labat, vice president of the New Franco-Chinese Institute, said Xi’s signed article shows friendship and respect and can facilitate bilateral strategic and economic dialogues as well as people-to-people exchanges. The four principles Xi put forward in the article — independence, openness and win-win, inclusiveness and mutual learning — serve as a prelude to more balanced and confident relations between France and China, added Labat. Xavier Wanderpepen, director of China-Europe freight rail transport of Forwardis, a subsidiary of SNCF Logistics, noted that the Chinese president talked at length about economic exchanges with France.

To Wanderpepen, what is very important is that Xi said China welcomes French exports and companies. “For me, this message is very strong and the most concrete and enjoyable one in his article,” he said.Jean-Francois Di Meglio, president of Asia Center, a think tank in Paris, said Xi’s article reiterated China’s commitment to multilateralism, which is also shared by France. China plays a positive role in conflict prevention and settlement in the world, said Di Meglio.

French sinologist Sonia Bressler said that in Xi’s article, “we read all the love that China is bringing to France.”The France-China friendship is key to world peace, she said, adding that Xi’s visit will help the two countries to develop a common future and link their destinies together.

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